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Five Things to Look For When Checking for Bad Bills

With the holiday rush approaching and a new $100 bill in circulation, it’s imperative for retailers to support their sales associates with tools to identify phony bills before hundreds of dollars of merchandise walks out their doors for free.

Use the following guidelines to help get your team off to a strong start in spotting bad bills, and be sure to check out www.newmoney.gov or www.secretservice.gov for more information and training materials.

Portrait. Check to ensure the bill’s portrait appears lifelike and dynamically stands out from the background. A counterfeit portrait is usually lifeless and flat. Details merge into the background, which is often too dark or mottled.

Federal reserve and treasury seals. On a genuine bill, the saw-tooth points of the Federal Reserve and Treasury seals are clear, distinct and sharp. The counterfeit seals will be uneven, blunt or broken saw-tooth points.

Border. The fine lines in the border are clear and unbroken. On a counterfeit, the lines in the outer margin and scrollwork may be blurred.

Serial numbers. Genuine serial numbers have a distinctive style and are evenly spaced. Check to make sure the serial numbers are printed in the same ink color as the Treasury Seal.

Paper. U.S. currency paper has tiny red and blue fibers embedded throughout. Often counterfeiters try to simulate these fibers by printing tiny red and blue lines on their paper. Look closely to ensure the lines are not just printed on the surface, but rather embedded in the paper. 

(Adapted from www.secretservice.gov)

About Amanda Bell

Amanda Bell was an assistant editor of Hardware Retailing and NRHA. Amanda regularly visited with home improvement retailers across the country and attended industry events and seminars. She earned a degree in magazine journalism from Ball State University and has received honors for her work for Hardware Retailing from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.

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